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Article 2 - 84-87 Civic/CRX 1.6L DOHC Hybriding (ZC/D16A1)
Author _ Katman | Created_ September 2004 | Last Update_ October 2004


Please read Article 1 if you don't know jack sh!t about ZC / D16A1 engines and US / JDM 84-87 civic/crx's.

This article covers the installation process of a 1.6 liter DOHC ZC/D16A1 engine into an 84-87 civic/crx Si fuel injected chassis. The article is designed to help a somewhat knowledgeable person who has performed Honda engine swaps before, and not for total newbs (although total newbs are welcome to try this swap out for themselves!).

Acronym Legend:
ZC = JDM version of the 1.6 DOHC engine
D16A1 = US version of the 1.6 DOHC engine
JDM/US Browntop = 1st Gen/1G ZC & D16A1 engine
JDM/US Blacktop = 2nd Gen/2G ZC & D16A1 engine (4-bolt valve cover)
JDM Blacktop v2 = 2nd Gen/2G EF ZC engine (8-bolt valve cover)
VAI = Vacuum Advance Ignition
OBD/OBD-0 = On Board Diagnostics
PGMFi = Programmed Fuel Injection
Si = Sports Injection


My hybrid experience with this install stems from my past '87 Civic Si ownership. I owned this car from the summer of '94 up untill January '98. This was my very first engine swap and it was performed during the '97 New Year's weekend. My friend, "Lucky" Mike Escamilla was a major helping hand in completing this swap (thanks Mike!). Here's a few pics of my '87 Si (during its last days) for you to drool over ;)

86-89 Integra Knuckle Assembly 86-89 Integra Knuckle Assembly 86-89 Integra Knuckle Assembly 86-89 Integra Knuckle Assembly 86-89 Integra Knuckle Assembly
You can access more info & pictures about my 87 Si under my section (Katman) on the FFS site (coming soon).

Getting back on track here...
This install article is mainly aimed at folks who have a programmed fuel injected (pgmfi) Si model 86-87 Civic or CRX. It's best to have the correct ZC/D16A1 engine when doing this swap into an 86-87 Si for electronic compatibility reasons. In this case, we're interested in the PGMFi browntop ZC or any browntop D16A1 engine. Some browntop's came carbureted in Japan; all were PGMFi in the US.

If you're planning to convert a ZC/D16A1 engine to run on a dual-carb setup in a non-Si 84-87 Civ/CRX model, the direct ZC/D16A1 bolt-in procedure can be followed and you can just disregard the fuel injection information.

You might trip once you finish your ZC/D16A1 engine swap. It's a tight fit and the engine sits at a forward tilt in the 84-87 engine bay which is totally normal!

The clearance of the radiator & exhaust manifold / header is pretty darn close (seen below) which is totally normal too!

86-89 Integra Knuckle Assembly
Lastly, when using the integra shift linkage, you'll notice that the shift lever is slightly more forward towards the dash, than your existing SOHC shifter lever - again, totally normal. This engine only uses a total of 3 OEM motor mounts & brackets in the 84-87 civ/CRX engine bay, just like your existing SOHC engine.

And don't forget, air tools are your friend!


Below is a list of must have parts [denoted in bold] in order to complete a 1st gen ZC/D16A1 into any 84-87 Civic/CRX chassis:
  • Browntop ZC or D16A1 engine & transmission w/onboard electronics (ignition/injectors/etc.)
    *NOTE: Technically, you can drop in a blacktop D16A1 into your 84-87 if you wish, but to make the electronic aspect of the swap easier, you will need to use a browtop D16A1 integra VAI distributor & cam journal. Using the retain your the distributor & distributor cam journal from an 86-87 browntop (VAI type) so that you c an retain your current VAI electronics over to the newer blacktop engine.
    86-89 Integra Knuckle Assembly
  • Any 5spd 86-89 Integra complete shift linkage
  • Any 5spd 86-89 Integra front tranny mount
  • Any 5spd 86-89 Integra axles w/intermediate shaft
  • Any set of 86-89 Integra knuckle/hub assembliess - both driver & passenger sides
  • Any 86-87 Integra engine harness (or reuse your existing Si engine harness)
  • Any US 86-87 Integra ECU or JDM 86-87 DOHC ZC ECU


  1. Click on this info-icon [84-87 SOHC Removal Info] for SOHC removal information.
  2. Applying the Integra Knuckle/Hub/Brake Assembly
    In order to use integra axles with this swap, you will need to upgrade to a set of 86-89 integra knuckle/hub assemblies. The reason behind this is because integra axles will not plug into your existing civic/crx hubs - the hub diameter is too small for the bigger integra outter joint spline. Since you will be changing over to integra knuckle/hub assemblies, it's a good idea to utilize the bigger integra front brakes as well, which are 100% compatible with a civic/crx chassis. Nothing wrong with adding more braking power eh??

    This should be a straight forward process. Do do what it takes to remove your existing civic/crx knuckle/hub assemblies (assuming you know how) - without damaging anything! - and apply the left and right integra knuckle/hub assemblies & brakes.

    Fig. 1-3
    shows you a few angles of the 86-89 integra knuckle/hub/brake assembly.

    86-89 Integra Knuckle Assembly
    86-89 Integra Knuckle Assembly
    86-89 Integra Knuckle Installed

  3. Engine Mounts & Preparation.

    There are 3 total engine mounts & brackets you will be using for the install.
    I always get confused between 'bracket' and 'mount' for some reason. So, if you're like me:
    bracket = black steel motor mount / mount = chassis mounted rubber filled motor mount

    You will reuse all 3 of your existing civ/crx mounts + 2 brackets, and 1 integra tranny bracket, which will mate up perfectly to your civic tranny mount.

    Driver Side Mount & Bracket [ Fig. 1-2 ]
    Shows two different comparison views between the civ/crx and integra driver side mount + bracket. Obviously, you cannot use the integra mount + bracket because the design is not meant for the more compact civic/crx engine bay.

    driver side mount comparison
    driver side mount comparison

    Driver Side Mount + Bracket & DOHC Timing Belt Cover Mod [ Fig. 3-7 ]
    Next, you will need to perform a slight modification to the D16A1/ZC engine's timing belt cover in order to reuse your civ/crx driver side mount + bracket. What happens is the ZC/D16A1's timing belt cover gets in the way of the civ/crx driver side mount. Fig.3 shows were the mount makes contact with the timing cover. Fig.4-5 show where you should perform the mod. Using a hack saw or dremel will get the job done - just be careful not to cut too far in or else you'll hit the timing belt! Fig.6-7 show test fitment and finished mod-job of the civ/crx driver side mount + bracket.

    timing belt cover mod...
    timing belt cover mod...
    timing belt cover mod...
    timing belt cover mod...
    timing belt cover mod...

    Performing the timing belt cover mod is optional (it's the way I was taught by Mike). The other way is to slightly modify the actual mount itself. You would simply cut part of the mount away that bumps/interferes with the timing belt cover with some kind of grinder tool. (How's that Marcus? lol)

    Tranny Bracket [ Fig. 8-10 ]
    Shows comparison views between the civ/crx and integra tranny brackets.
    Obviously, you cannot reuse your existing civ/crx tranny bracket because the bolt pattern is different.

    tranny bracket comparison
    tranny bracket comparison
    integra tranny bracket bolted to transmission

    Rear Engine Bracket [ Fig. 11-15 ]
    Shows you comparison views between the civ/crx and integra rear engine mounts & brackets. The mounts in Fig.11 are totally identical when it comes to the rubber filling. The only real difference is that the integra mount has 3-posts. Fig.12-13 show design/shape differences between the civ/crx & integra rear brackets, and obviously, you need to stick with the civ/crx bracket in lieu of the compatibility factor. If you'd like to take advantage and have some slight additional rear engine support, use the integra mount and modify [ie. drill a hole] your civ/crx bracket as seen in Fig.14-15 "mod job" images.

    rear engine mount comparison
    rear engine bracket comparo side views
    rear engine brackets comparo top view
    Fig.14 [mod job]
    rear engine bracket mod job
    Fig.15 [mod job]
    rear engine bracket mod job

  4. Other Preparations.

    Now, that you have the motor mounts n' shit squared away, there's a a few other things to think about before installing the ZC/D16A1, such as:

    - The Clutch!!!
    If you'd like to replace the clutch system [disc, pressure plate, & throw-out bearing], purchase these parts from your local Acura dealership or som local parts store for any 5-speed model 86-89 Acura Integra.The clutch parts are all 100% compatible between any 86-89 D16A1 integra engine and JDM 1st generation browntop + blacktop ZC engines (w/4-bolt valve cover).

    - Flywheel -- keep it stock or lighten it?
    It's your choice. I absolutely LOVE the snappy acceleration a lightened flywheel has to offer, not to mention it helps out tremendously at open-track events. Shaving off a few poungs from your stock f.wheel is recommended if you wanna save a few $$$. If you decide to not go with a lightened f.wheel and keep your stock flywheel, it's a good idea to have it balanced and resurfaced at a local automotive machine shop.
  5. Ready to Install.

    As mentioned at the beginning, this hybrid article was designed for knowledgeable people who've performed Honda engine swaps before. With that said, and the preparations complete, it's safe to say that you can now install the engine.

    Here's a quick run down of what needs to be done:
    - Remove the exhaust manifold before installing the engine, to make the swap easier on your conscience (it can be problamatic if you leave it on during the install because of the tiny 84-87 civ/crx engine compartment).

    - Do not have the integra tranny bracket or rear engine bracket mounted on the engine at all during the initial 'dropping in' of the engine. Both will get in the way. Only the driver side mount/bracket should be mounted onto the engine during the 'drop in' phase.

    - Make sure the driver side engine mount is securely tightened down on the engine side [Fig.1]. When lowering the motor into the engine bay, this is the first mount that you'll want to get into placement. .
    secure driver side mount

    - Get the cherry picker (engine hoist) into place [Fig.2]. Raise the engine up and carefully lower it into the civ/crx engine bay without damaging anything. Your aim is to get the driver side mount in first. Once in place, feed the long 17mm mounting bolt through the driver side mount and loosely tighten it up [Fig.3]. You'll want to leave some play in this mount until the rest of the mounts are comfortably into place before fully tightening down. Once the driver side mount is in, use a hydraulic floor jack to support the tranny side of the engine, and level the motor out. Remember, the ZC/D16A1 sits at a forward tilt, so the valve cover won't look completely horizontally straight once the motor is level.

    cherry picker ready to
    bolt tha bitch in!

    - Once you get motor leveled, install the tranny mount & rear engine bracket [Fig.4]. Remember to leave play in all of the engine mount bolts so that you can get all engine mounts installed one at a time without fitment issues. Once all mounts & brackets are in place, tighten all of the support bolts. I don't have the torque specs for the engine mount bolts. Just tighten them up good and snug, you don't need to overtighten either!
    Congratulations [Fig.5] - you've just finished the engine install procedure!

    bolted in...
    I said its bolted in!

    - Once all mounts are in place, tighten the support bolts down. I don't have the torque specs for the engine mount bolts. Just tighten them up good, you don't need to overtighten either! You don't want to strip anything.

    install complete - tiiite boyeee!!!


The wiring page is still being constructed. Sorry for the inconvenience!